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Training Tracks February 2016

This edition of Training Tracks was written by Beth E., our Director of Women's Ministries.

This past November, the Women's Ministry Department held our second training conference for our Area Women's Representatives. It was a great week for networking and training. We chose three main areas of training for the week: conflict resolution, millennials/inter-generational teaming, and spiritual formation. Each section brought new insights and tools that our AWRs learned from and could pass on to others. But what amazed us was the overwhelming response to the spiritual formation or soul care sessions. These sessions had such impact on the women that several of our AWRs have already used them to facilitate their own spiritual formation retreats in their areas.

Lynn Karidis led us in reflections each morning and then gave us 30 minutes of individual time to address each area. Honoring the Body, Protecting the Heart, Using the Mind and Engaging the Will were all topics that hit each woman in practical ways. When was the last time most of us sat down and really thought about how the body that holds our soul affects our spiritual walk? Or stopped to lament the unmet expectations that lie dormant in our hearts but are affecting our everyday interactions? What does it mean to engage the will and our intentions as a spiritual discipline?

The time spent on these and other questions is critically important to our spiritual growth and lays the foundation of all other development. The longer I spend coaching and leading people, the more impressed I am with our great need for this kind of intentional soul care and the ripple effects it has on all of our growth areas. It is easy to fill our IGPs (Individual Growth Plans) with books about various ministry skills and strategies, but developing quality time with Jesus also deserves our focus and attention. We often think we've covered it with our "quiet time", yet how many of us walk away from that time sensing that not much transformation has taken place?

In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus said: "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly." (The Message)

Learning to really rest in Jesus is the best growth priority we could have. Keeping company with Him brings us into "unforced rhythms of grace." 

If you are looking for ways to learn to keep company with Jesus, consider utilizing Adele Ahlberg Calhoun's book Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices that Transform Us. This book is not meant to be read cover to cover but used as a diagnostic and reference tool. It can help you determine where you are in your spiritual growth and give you practices to grow in those areas.

Further, if you are a woman you can consider attending Soul Care in the 21st Century with Lynn Karidis on the Farmington campus April 30 - May 6. You can find out more information about this session at